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Campus COVID-19 update: What to expect this summer

April 19, 2021

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This message covers

  • Summer testing and building access
  • Opening campus up to visitors
  • Making a plan for vaccination

As we head into the final weeks of the semester, we thank you for everything you have done to support the health and safety of our community by following our COVID-19 protocols.

It’s critical we continue to follow these protocols through the remainder of the semester so we can safely cap off the academic year and graduating students can return to Camp Randall for in-person commencement ceremonies on May 8.

Working together, as we have throughout the semester, we can finish strong. Our recent case counts have remained stable, and significantly, about 23,000 employees and students have received at least one dose of vaccine, either at UHS or from a vaccinator off campus.

Looking ahead to summer

With summer just around the corner, and planning for our return to campus for the fall underway, some activities on campus will change after the end of spring semester.

These modifications are informed by increasing vaccination rates, combined with more opportunities to be outside due to better weather. The Office of Human Resources will be providing additional details related to the return to campus for employees who are currently working remotely. As has been the case throughout this past year, our approach is subject to change in response to emerging public health trends.

You are invited to read a complete summary of these changes, but key information is summarized below.

Building/Facility Access

Effective Monday, May 10, access to campus buildings and facilities will no longer be limited to those with green/building access granted Badger Badges, unless required by those overseeing a specific space, event, or other in-person activity.

  • Access to campus facilities will no longer be managed by Badger Wellness Ambassadors.
  • However, some laboratories may require a green Badger Badge for entry, instructors may choose to require a green Badger Badge for students participating in in-person instruction, and operating units may ask those attending group meetings to have a green Badger Badge. Visitors and guests, who are unable to use the Safer Badgers app, will not have access to these spaces, events, or other in-person activities. As noted below, a green badge can be obtained by regular COVID testing or proof of vaccination.
  • While we anticipate fewer locations will require a Badger Badge check to enter, we expect all members of the campus community to maintain their green/building access granted Badger Badge to ensure they can access all facilities and events, without limitation, throughout the summer. This will be done through regular testing or proof of vaccination. 

Testing and the Safer Badgers app

We will continue to support on-campus, no-cost testing for our campus community, as well as use of the Safer Badgers app. Starting Monday, May 10, testing and badging will operate as follows:

  • Testing will be available for members of our campus community, including students who were enrolled in the 2021 spring semester, regardless of their summer enrollment status.
  • All testing will be PCR-based nasal swab, provided on a drop-in basis at a minimum of three sites, one of which will include a drive-up option. Look for more information about summer test site locations soon.
  • Everyone must test once each week to maintain a green/building access granted Badger Badge. For undergraduates, this is less frequent than was required during spring semester, but aligns undergraduate student testing timeframes for the summer with testing timeframes already in place for employees and graduate students. If students and employees are not fully vaccinated and need to access locations where green/building access granted status is required, they must have a negative test on file in their Safer Badgers app within the past 8 days.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from routine campus testing, but are expected to get tested if they develop symptoms of COVID-19. 


We will gradually allow more visitors on campus this summer starting May 10.

  • Access to campus buildings and facilities will no longer be limited to those with green/building access granted Badger Badges, unless required by those overseeing a specific space, event, or activity.
  • The Union Terrace and RecWell will open to members of the public (subject to facilities limits). Campus tours will resume later in May.
  • Guests and visitors will also be allowed to attend university-sponsored events, on or off campus, unless the event sponsor determines attendance is limited to those with a green Badger Badge.

Events and campus activities

Current policies for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and schools/colleges/divisions remain in effect until May 10.

However, effective Monday, May 10:

  • Gathering/event size guidelines will be updated to follow the most current Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) Emergency Order, currently PHMDC Order #15. This guidance is likely to change over time and will be updated.
  • Food or drink will be allowed. All food and beverage provided at events must be either commercially pre-packaged/individually packaged or served by university catering staff. If food is provided by a restaurant or catering company not affiliated with the university, it must be provided in single serve packaging.
  • Face coverings will be required for all indoor gatherings, except when eating or drinking. Face coverings will not be required for outdoor gatherings, if physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Guests and visitors will be allowed to attend UW–Madison sponsored events, on- or off- campus, unless the event sponsor determines attendance is limited to those with a green/building access granted Badger Badge status.
  • Third-party events (events not sponsored by the university) will not be allowed.


We encourage students and employees to get vaccinated on or off campus. If you are vaccinated off campus, upload your vaccine records to MyUHS:

Fully vaccinated members of campus with approved vaccine records on file are exempt from campus testing.

Have a plan for vaccination. Check the MyUHS portal for appointment availability on campus each week. If you receive your first shot at UHS, you should plan to return to UHS for your second shot.

Recently, UHS has received Moderna, which is given as two shots separated by 28 days. Please be aware that if you are getting your first shot now, you will be due for your second shot after the end of the academic semester. Only the vaccine provider that gave you your first shot can guarantee you your second shot.

You cannot mix vaccine types. If your first shot is Pfizer your second shot must also be Pfizer. If your first shot is Moderna, your second shot must also be Moderna.

If you must leave the region before you can get a second shot:

  • Contact vaccine providers at your destination as soon as possible to see whether they can give you a second dose only.
  • If you are unable to stay with the recommended vaccine interval, you can get your second dose up to 42 days after the first.
  • If recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days you may be able to wait until you reach your summer destination before starting a two-dose vaccine series. However, vaccination remains the most reliable way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.